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World Heritage Convention

Decision 39 COM 7B.7
Great Barrier Reef (Australia) (N 154)

The World Heritage Committee,

  1. Having examined Document WHC-15/39.COM/7B.Add,
  2. Recalling Decisions 36 COM 7B.8, 37 COM 7B.10, and 38 COM 7B.63, adopted at its 36th (Saint-Petersburg, 2012), 37th (Phnom Penh, 2013) and 38th (Doha, 2014) sessions respectively,
  3. Notes with concern the conclusion of the 2014 Great Barrier Reef Outlook Report that the overall Outlook for the property is poor, and that climate change, poor water quality and impacts from coastal development are major threats to the property’s health and regrets that key habitats, species and ecosystem processes in the central and southern inshore areas have continued to deteriorate from the cumulative effects of these impacts;
  4. Welcomes the State Party’s efforts, in consultation and partnership with stakeholders, to establish the Reef 2050 Long-Term Sustainability Plan (2050 LTSP) that outlines an overarching vision for the future conservation of the property over the next 35 years and, in particular:
    1. The establishment of an 80% reduction in pollution run-off in the property by 2025 and the commitment of an initial additional investment of AUS 200 million dollars to accelerate progress in water quality improvements,
    2. The confirmation of protection of greenfield areas by restricting major new port development in and adjoining the property, thereby limiting capital dredging for the development of new or expansion of existing port facilities within the regulated port limits of the major ports of Gladstone, Hay Point/Mackay, Abbott Point and Townsville, excluding Fitzroy Delta, North Curtis Island and Keppel Bay from future port development and ensuring consistency with the 2003 Great Barrier Reef Zoning Plan,
    3. The commitment toward a 5-yearly evaluation of the plan performance and adaptation of its actions and targets on the basis of the results of future Great Barrier Reef Outlook reports;
  5. Also welcomes the State Party’s decision to reconsider the approval to dispose capital dredge material inside the property from the proposed Abbot Point development and the commitment to establish a permanent ban on dumping of dredged material from all capital dredging projects within the property;
  6. Considers that the effective implementation of the 2050 LTSP, supported by clear oversight and accountability, research, monitoring and adequate and sustained financing, is essential to respond to the current and potential threats to the property’s Outstanding Universal Value, and requests the State Party to rigorously implement all of its commitments of the 2050 LTSP, including where necessary through their inclusion in legislation, in order to halt the current documented declines in the property, create the conditions for sustained recovery and to enhance the property’s resilience;
  7. Takes note of the State Party commitment to establish an investment framework in 2015 and also considers that this is an essential requirement for the effective implementation of the 2050 LTSP, that should be established as a matter of priority;
  8. Also requests the State Party to submit to the World Heritage Centre, by 1 December 2016, an update on progress with implementation of the 2050 LTSP to confirm that the inception of the plan has been effective, and the Investment Strategy has been established, for examination by the World Heritage Centre and IUCN, and if in their assessment the anticipated progress is not being made, for consideration at the subsequent session of the World Heritage Committee in 2017;
  9. Further requests the State Party to submit to the World Heritage Centre, by 1 December 2019, an overall state of conservation report, including a 1-page summary, on the state of conservation of the property demonstrating effective and sustained protection of the property’s Outstanding Universal Value and effective performance in meeting the targets established under the 2050 LTSP, linked to the findings of the 2014 and anticipated 2019 Great Barrier Reef Outlook Reports, for examination by the World Heritage Committee at its 44th session in 2020.
Decision Code
39 COM 7B.7
States Parties 1
Properties 1
State of conservation reports
2015 Great Barrier Reef
Decisions adopted by the World Heritage Committee at its 39th session (Bonn, 2015)
Context of Decision